I'm new to BlogHer! Intro and questions...

Hi, I'm Lisa and I'm new to BlogHer, but not so new to blogging!  I've had personal websites/blogs since I was a teenager, but found out about mommy blogs and giveaway blogs after I had my son in 2009.  I started entering giveaways on various blogs and finally asked another blogger how you get companies to sponsor giveaways and started emailing companies!  I started with my own blog that I only had about 2 months before my friend Amy and I decided to start a giveaway blog together in January 2010 - Mommy and Me Giveaways.  We later added another friend, Teresa.  Trying to get our blog to grow (and learning how to make it grow!) along with being busy moms was pretty tough, and stressful at times, but we enjoy hosting giveaways!  With the new year in 2011 we have added 3 new bloggers - Kristen, Julianne, and Megan, and will possibly be adding one more, and I have to say that is the best decision we've ever made!  Things are much less stressful now and our blog is getting so busy with daily giveaways, plus with 6 of us contributing we are able to post deals we find online, and other types of posts such as parenting, and crafts and recipes (soon to come!).  I also found out about this great blog, http://www.bloggiveawaydirectory.com where you can pay this person to post about your giveaway, tweet about it, link to it in her sidebar, enter it into several linkys, etc depending on which advertising you choose, plus you can do a free onetime submission for each of your giveaways, and she lists links to various linkys in case you want to do it yourself.  This is seriously boosting our traffic and it's cheap!  Woohoo!  :)

One question I have for any veteran bloggers, and I'm sure I will find more info as I start searching around on BlogHer, is how do we offset our expenses?  We have tried affiliate links, but that has not earned us anything, and I wound up taking most of them off our blog because they just added too much clutter.  We were offering advertising, but my stepmom's accountant I talked to advised me not to do this because I am on disability and if I start selling advertising on our blog social security could see that as being a business and say I'm capable of working and kick me off disability whenever they do my review.  I am allowed to make up to $700 though without it affecting my disability benefits (and I don't expect to get even that much for advertising!), the only worry is when they do my review you have to report if you are working any sort of job or making money.  Any other bloggers here on disability and earning money on your blog?  Have you had any problems wtih it?

Also, since the accountant didn't really know anything about mom blogs or giveaway blogs when I asked him about taxes and keeping up wtih income and expenses...  do our review products we receive count as income we should be keeping up with?  If this counts as income and we exceed a certain amount do we need to be reporting this on our taxes?

I'd appreciate any advice, and look forward to meeting fellow BlogHers!


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